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Introducing Our New Board Members

Akiptan is excited to introduce you to the newest members of our board:

Zachary Ilbery is the Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor at Elmore City-Pernell Public Schools in Oklahoma within the Chickasaw Nation. Ilbery previously served as the National Leadership Development Specialist for the Intertribal Agriculture Council. Ilbery grew up on a cow-calf operation in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in Checotah, Oklahoma where he is an enrolled tribal member. Ilbery currently owns a cow-calf operation and partners in his grandfather’s operation as well. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma State University in Agricultural Education and holds a teaching certificate in the agricultural

education area. While at Oklahoma State he developed a curriculum in regards to Native Agriculture within Oklahoma. Ilbery serves on the Board of Directors for the Intertribal Agriculture Council as well as currently serving as the Eastern Oklahoma Board of Director for the Native Youth Food Sovereignty Alliance. Ilbery was a founder of the Seminole State College Agricultural Degree Program in Seminole, Oklahoma and a Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honoree for beginning farmers and ranchers. Ilbery was actively involved in the FFA as a high school student, and continues to do so still. Ilbery has won several awards in the FFA, including earning his America FFA Degree. Ilbery’s passions include advocating for youth involvement in agriculture and the promotion of agricultural literacy on a national scale.

“I am very excited to be joining the board of directors for Akiptan. The ability to serve Native communities in terms of lending capabilities is something that is unparalleled. I am excited to be joining the board because it allows me to serve the community that has given so much to me.”

Padgley Gonzales (Akimel O’Otham and Pii Paash) is a member of the Gila River Indian Community from Sacaton, AZ. Currently, she is the Western Region Technical Assistance Specialist for the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). In this role, she serves the Tribes, Tribal producers, and youth in Arizona and Utah. Gonzales graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Agribusiness Economics and Management. Throughout her college career, she interned with the IAC and within her Tribes ag development program and Tribal farm. Those experiences offered valuable insight into land development and commercial agribusiness practices.

"I'm excited to join the Akiptan Board of Directors to support the mission of transforming Native agriculture and food economies by delivering creative capital, leading paradigm changes, and enhancing producer prosperity across Indian Country."

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